Tatiana Calderón secured the first point of her GP3 Series career after a sensational comeback drive from the back of the grid at Hockenheim, Germany.
The Colombian rising star impressed onlookers in the Formula 1 paddock when she made up 12 places in the first race of the weekend to clinch 10th place, notching up her first point of the season – before going one better in the second race with a ninth place finish.
It completed a remarkable turnaround for Tatiana, who was left bitterly disappointed when she qualified 22nd and last in an especially arduous qualifying session on Saturday morning.
But, with the help of the hard work of her Arden International team, she was able to take full advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate her overtaking prowess and tyre management abilities, helped by the weight of expectation being off her shoulders.
A series of early incidents in Saturday evening’s first race, which resulted in a Virtual Safety Car period, allowed the 23-year-old to rise to 13th place in the opening laps, providing a solid platform from which to attack and make her way up into the top 10.
From there, Tatiana was able to pick off Kevin Jorg and Sandy Stuvik in relatively quick succession – all the while keeping her Arden teammate Jake Dennis in her mirrors – and finally putting a move on Artur Janosz with four laps to go to complete an outstanding ascension into the points.
Riding high from that result, the Bogota native continued in the same vein during race two on Sunday morning, in which she started a season-best 10th on the grid thanks to her race one success.
Going immediately on the attack, she once again got the better of Jorg to finish ninth, coming within three tenths of beating McLaren protégé Nyck de Vries for the final points-paying place in eighth.
Tatiana Calderón: “It was such a huge relief to score a point after such a difficult start of the year, and the way I achieved it was for me very satisfying. Qualifying was extremely hard, as I didn’t feel like I was able to give it 100 percent, but starting from the back meant I had nothing to lose and I was able to relax, because I was expecting nothing. From that point on, everything worked out perfectly – I was the quickest driver in the last part of the race, I overtook quite a lot of top guys, I showed I can be up there. I understood also that I need to relax and trust my abilities more from now on. It’s a great feeling to go away into the summer break with, and I look forward to having a few weeks of rest before coming back to Spa – which is my favourite track – with full energy.”
With a break of four weeks until the next round of the GP3 Series calendar, Tatiana now heads back to her native Colombia for some well-earned rest before returning to Europe for the sixth round of the season at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium on August 26-28.